Monday, January 28, 2019

Mom Thought Mondays

Ever have those moments when you wonder "Are you really my kid?". I mean, I gave birth to her and all, but sometimes, I just have to shake my head:

  • Dry carbs. No butter on anything. Dry Eggo Waffles, plain uncut bagels, plain bread. DRY DRY DRY. 
  • Major chocoholic. Like, you can't even say the word without her asking for chocolate. I don't mind the stuff, but her love of chocolate is admirable.
  • Fearless. I was totally a weenie by comparison. She will climb anything and everything, and brushes off a tumble with ease. 

Then there are moments where I totally know she is my kid:
  • Oh man do we love pork rinds. I had to throw out a container of pork rinds someone brought over as a gag (little did they know) because we were both eating them too frequently and with too much gusto; AND I didn't want to be the daycare mom packing her kid both organic yogurt and pork rinds. 
  • Popcorn for days. She will take popcorn out of my hand, even if we have a big bowl to share.
  • She is hecking strong. At first I thought her pediatrician said "Oh wow she is strong" as a generic like they'd say to most kids who fight and throw a fit, but now I think they really mean it after she threw a solid right jab and head butted me while I was trying to hold her so they could check her ears. 

And then there are moments where even I think she's sweeter than I deserve:
  • Smooches, and then the most loving pair of eyes and a big smile looking back at me, ready to pepper me with more kisses and hugs.
  • She'll count my reps when I'm working out at home and sometimes workout with me (or add more resistance. Oof). Right now she jumps numbers, so her counting reps is great, hehehe. "Ten reps kiddo? Well, I only counted four, but who am I to argue?"
  • Seeing her learn stuff. She's putting together sentences now and "Mommy tank you. Thank you mommy" is a big one now, even for little things like getting water. Aww. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hot Pot

So it's hecking cold AF and I don't know of anything better than a ton of hot spicy broth and an unlimited amount of food to put in that spicy broth.

First off, I can't find my favorite hot pot packet locally, which is Lao Gan Ma - if anyone sees it at either of the Asian grocery stores, lemme know because I can't find anything with that same kind of kick. 

She knows what's up with the broth.

Okay, any way, back to hot pot. I had friends new and old (Phairhead and her SexyBeast, what's UPPPP) to eat some of this hot goodness, and let me tell you why doing hot pot at home is awesome:

  1. If you have a kid, you can put on TV, give them some not-spicy food (either some stuff you cooked in the broth before you put the spicy packet in, or some good ol' fashioned kid favorites like pizza or chicken nuggets. Pizza was what I got when I was a kid and my dad, aunties, and uncles would go to town on some hot pot).
  2. Your friends can bring over their kid(s) and they can play and watch TV while the adults socialize and now you get to enjoy your meal instead of being on high alert making sure little Cammy and Ryu don't burn themselves with boiling water and hot chili oil in a restaurant where all of the non-kid friendly patrons are giving you stink eye for bringing your kids in the first place. 
  3. IT IS SO MUCH CHEAPER. Hot pot in Albany is basically gonna run you at least $50 for two people. $20 pp for AYCE, $10 for the pot of broth. YES, you don't have to do any of the work and you might have more variety, but I'm pretty sure it cost me around $50-60 for a hot pot for 6 people with a ton of meat leftover, so whatever.
  4. Hot pot leftovers become stirfry for the week!
  5. It is delicious so hush up and start eating. 
  6. You get to cook your own food at the dinner table, and it's really fast.
One of the new folks that came over had never had hot pot before, so that was cool that he got to try it. Annoyingly, both of the Asian grocery stores were kinda lacking when it came to sliced meats, which is INSANE because it is the middle of winter, which is primo hot pot season. Up your game, Albany!

And yep, you can make out the Boop's little finger pointing to a bowl up top. Gotta start 'em young!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Mom Thought Mondays

Kiddo loves the snow, even when the windchill brings it -5 below. 

There are no sick days for parents, but Baby Shark on loop as my little sidekick requests, snacks in bed, and cuddles are a pretty good second to a sick day and actually sleeping.

There are so many moments I used to get anxious about:
  • Will I have to nurse her to sleep forever???
    • As it turns out, her getting sick last year around this time and not nursing to sleep was the transition that got us out of that habit.
  • Food. OMG what will she eat?
    • Some days she eats more than others. Don't make a big deal out of it. Give her something new every now and then when you can, and otherwise she's happy with rice and eggs. You'll figure something out.
And now that we're in the potty training stage, well, I've embraced a few things (Uh, this'll get kind of squicky for anyone who is easily grossed out by potty training, so feel free to skip ahead):
  • Bribery: I initially started out with 1 "choc choc" (M&M chocolate) for sitting on the potty, and 2 "choc chocs" for actually using the potty, but then she wised up and learned to ask to go to the potty every time she wanted a chocolate. Smart, kiddo. 
  • Electronic Devices: One tiny tablet will buy me a few extra minutes of sitting time for an antsy toddler.
  • Not caring too much, and indulging her every time she says the word "potty".
    • I was really surprised when she asked to go potty today when I felt super sick (and honestly would have just rather changed a diaper instead of the whole process we go through with getting undressed to go to bathroom), but then she used the toilet seat toddler insert, actually sat on it (she usually attempts to sit on it, screams and freaks out, then goes to her toddler potty next to the tub) and let out a good long whiz. HECK YES I AM BEST MOM EVER MY TODDLER IS USING THE TOILET SOMETIMES. Look, I need to take my victories where I can get them, 'kay?
      • That one got two choc chocs and a ton of praise. 
Are there parents that don't get sick of stuff on repeat? Kiddo has watched Baby Shark about eleventy billion times, and I find it kind of comforting, and she's starting to learn repetition and patterns from it, so it seems to have a little value.

Marie Kondo - that series was really sweet. She's the lady that says to get rid of your extra junk and only keep stuff that "Sparks Joy". I basically had to do that when I moved, but it's nice to see other forms of media and celebrity encouraging less stuff, and to have your kids help out. Kiddo's not quite 2, and I've made sure she sees me clean and knows how much I like a tidy place, and she'll now help me put away dishes and put dirty dishes in the sink.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Black & Blue Steakhouse

Black and Blue is still one of the "newer" upscale steak houses in Albany. It's modern, sleek, and on the formal side, but without airs. 

And they have pretzel bread. HELLO.

Service was attentive, polite, and efficient - my ideal for an upscale steakhouse. 

 Steak Tartare ($18.00): diced tenderloin with onion, garlic, capers, horseradish aioli, truffle oil, and a panko-crusted ‘5 minute’ egg. 

Steak tartare is one of those dishes I *have* to get when I see it on a menu. I prefer my tartare as more of a rough mince than a thicker dice, and the generous amount of cheese made absolutely no sense to me (do people like tartare with cheese?). I'd probably also dial back on some of the aioli, as I want more of the raw meat flavors to come though. If the meat's good, you don't need to dress it up with so many accessories. All of these opinions make me sound like I didn't like it, but it was quite good. Just some minor tweaks, or personal preferences.
That said, the truffle oil and 5 minute poached egg were phenomenal additions. Holy smokes - great combination.

Pair this with some fries and you've got yourself a great bar dinner. And let's be honest, I probably could have just stopped right here and had a perfectly content night out, except...

Oh right they have steak. Ridiculously well cooked steak.

The 14 oz Ribeye ($48) was cooked exactly to temp as requested (medium rare, thanks!). I find it so hard for most restaurants to nail medium rare through and through that I usually order rare and wind up getting something a little over medium rare. But not at Black & Blue. Medium rare is medium rare. 

Black & Blue's house rub is mainly salt, pepper, and some rosemary notes, which go very well with the steak. I gilded the fatty lily with some truffle butter, because we all know ribeye steaks don't have nearly enough fat on their own. Amirite?

Filet Mignon ($44) au poivre ($12), which adds a black peppercorn and brandy sauce, haricots verts, and hash brown rosti cake.

The pepper sauce was a bit of overkill, as Black & Blue does a beautiful job with the meats on their own. 

A side of wild mushrooms ($8) with tarragon, onion, and shallot because I simply cannot resist any dish that includes tarragon or shallots. Combine the two? I'm in.

Great firm texture on the mushrooms. A solid side.

Truffle butter shot!

I'll likely give their crab a try next time, though it'll be hard to stray away from the excellently prepared steaks. 

Black & Blue Steak & Crab
1740 Western Ave
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 313-7388

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mom Thought Mondays

Random thoughts from a single mom:
  • Why is Daniel Tiger the pied piper of toddlers? 
  • Wow, tantums are no joke
    • I can see how people cave in to get kids to stop crying, but much like my pregnancy, I try to keep an observational mindset with this to figure out why she's really crying and pick and choose my battles. No cookies or other rewards for a fit, but I don't really care if she thinks she "won" something by asking to eat the vegetables off of my plate instead of her own.
  • It is really cool to see her make developmental leaps and learn communication
    • Sidenote: This means she understands EVERYTHING I say
  • Why does my child think the expensive packets of apple sauce so much better than my homemade apple sauce packets?
  • It's hard to tell which one of us likes coloring more
  • I don't think I had any preference about what I wore until I was almost done with middle school (trust me, if you see a picture of me from about 7-13, this will be painfully obvious), but there is one pair of pants she is really fond of wearing.
  • I really like being single. I get to focus on me and my little Boop, and I've been working for a career that allows me to spend more time with her while still advancing. 
  • Sometimes I just think of myself as this nervous 20-something who doesn't really know anything, and then I hear stuff come out of my mouth that surprises even me with how much grown up adult stuff I know, and how I can communicate it. 
  • Little things make me feel rich:
    • I can keep the heat on high for my little Boop so she can sleep comfortably
    • I can buy some convenience foods (like those dadgum fruit and veggie packets) that she loves so very much
    • Sushi once every couple of months
    • Other than that, I pretty much only buy my underoos new and everything else comes from the thrift store because holy cow things are expensive.
    • Last year I was too broke to buy Christmas presents for anyone, and divorce is expensive, but this year I could afford to buy people presents so yay.
  • Kiddo went from loving baths to HATING THEM BECAUSE THIS IS SOME KIND OF SATAN WATER GET IT OFF ME AND STOP TRYING TO DROWN ME YOU AWFUL WOMAN. Turns out, all she needed were some bubbles in the water, and bingo bango - the word "bath" has taken on the gravity of "Daniel Tiger" or "Ice Cream" because as soon as I say it, it must be done.